House backs ‘Blue Alert' for hunting cop killers

The police can solicit the public’s help with a Levi’s Call in child abduction cases and with a Mattie’s Call when an elderly or disabled person wanders from home.

And soon they could be issuing a “Blue Alert” for anyone suspected of seriously injuring or killing one of their fellow officers.

By a vote of 164-2, the Georgia House passed legislation Tuesday to create a Blue Alert that's patterned after Mattie's Call. The bill previously passed the Senate.

Law enforcement officials have called the bill “very timely,” considering this year's ambush slaying of a Chattahoochee Hills police officer. Lt. Michael Vogt was shot several times with a high-powered rifle while patrolling a rural area of south Fulton County in broad daylight.

In cases where a local, state or federal law enforcement agent was injured or killed, a Blue Alert would go out with information about a potential suspect, such as a license plate number, via television, radio and the flashing signs on interstate highways.

Law enforcement agents would have to declare that the suspect poses a potential harm to the public, said Rep. Tim Bearden (R-Villa Rica), a former police officer.

The alerts also could be issued to help locate a police officer who is reported missing while on duty, according to the bill.

The General Assembly created Mattie's Call in 2006 to assist law enforcement in cases where an elderly or disabled person is reported missing. The alert can only be activated by a local law enforcement agency.

Levi's Call, which is Georgia's version of the national Amber Alert, was established after the 1997 abduction and murder of a Forsyth County boy.